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You’ll never be an astronaut now.

By johnboy - 11 July 2011 21

atlantis over canberra

John Lafferty has sent in this picture of the last space shuttle flight (and last crewed flight for the US space program of which we’ve been a part for the forseeable future) with this note:

The ISS with the Space Shuttle Atlantis attached over Canberra. This is the last flight of the Space Shuttle programme. Sad to see them go.

The large glow on the horizon is Canberra. This is a composite of three images taken this morning at 5:46am from the south of Canberra. If the weather stays clear you can see other 1min flyovers for the next few days. Look at the NASA Human Space Flight sight for details.

Got an image of Canberra you want to share with the world? Email it to .

What’s Your opinion?

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21 Responses to
You’ll never be an astronaut now.
wrigbe 9:01 pm 11 Jul 11

“Our destinations for humans beyond Earth remain ambitious. They include: the moon, asteroids, and Mars. The debate is not if we will explore, but how we’ll do it.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jul 1 2011

Hmmm maybe I don’t have to dash the hopes of my 5 year old quite yet.

oddball508 7:30 pm 11 Jul 11

Good pickup Sigma. The gaps are because this is really three images stiched together. Each exposure was 30 seconds. Longer than that and the glow from Canberra takes over the image. While some people would fill in the gaps, I don’t do that.
It is true that the ISS will make another good pass on the 19th, but that may be just after the return to earth of Atlantis. This is a 12 day mission and I believe the shuttle will have separated from the ISS by then and will not pass over us. This is what the current data from the NASA Human Flight web site is telling me.

Deckard 7:28 pm 11 Jul 11

It’s only temporary. Start training your kids.

SigmaOctantis 2:52 pm 11 Jul 11

Great pic, thanks for posting.
Just wondering why there are two apparent regular breaks in the light trail? Neither the shuttle or the ISS are rotating.

For good predictions on the visibility of things like this go to, and put in your location. There’s a really good pass due on the 19th, (from memory).

ma7trlb 2:14 pm 11 Jul 11

surely this will leave the global job market with a surplus of rocket scientists. Would this then allow brain surgeons to sit alone atop the pile of “complex” jobs – will “it’s not rocket science” thus be condemned to the scrapheap (much as NASA is)?

Holden Caulfield 12:09 pm 11 Jul 11

Great pic, thank you.

Gungahlin Al 12:06 pm 11 Jul 11

oddball508 said :

Space flight is going civilian now. NASA is plannig to outsouce a lot of the delivery missions.

Yes but they’ll mostly be robotic flights for cargo deliveries – people just aren’t really needed any more. The people movements will be via the Soyuz. Shame.

oddball508 12:02 pm 11 Jul 11

Space flight is going civilian now. NASA is plannig to outsouce a lot of the delivery missions.

johnboy 11:34 am 11 Jul 11

Yep. Let me know how you go getting flight qualified as an outsider to the Russian program.

wrigbe 11:33 am 11 Jul 11

Andy Thomas was a Cosmonaut in 1998 … although admitted after training as an astronaut and flying space shuttles first.

johnboy 10:45 am 11 Jul 11

Good luck to an Australian trying to join the cosmonaut program. It’s not likely.

Dr Strange 10:39 am 11 Jul 11

You can still be a Cosmonaut.

A very melancholy time. To think the Space Shuttle Programme cost less over it’s entire life time then the US spent to bail out just AIG during the GFC (according to The Economist). The US Congress is so anti-science and short sighted that they are even trying to kill off the James Webb Telescope – the successor to Hubble.

Gungahlin Al 10:25 am 11 Jul 11

Good work on the photos.

We managed to (manually) track the ISS with our 8″ Dobsonian telescope a few weeks ago during a long visible pass. We could actually see the shape of the solar sails even though it was only a 25mm eyepiece.

oddball508 9:43 am 11 Jul 11

Added a few more images –

The Frots 9:15 am 11 Jul 11

Oh great………………so I’m doing all this training now for nothing!

(Great photo by the way).

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